Muslim American leader Imam W. Deen Mohammed and Focolare founderChiara Lubich

May 7, 2024 / Muslim News Magazine

Uniting Faiths: The Groundbreaking Relationship Between Imam W. Deen Mohammed and Chiara Lubich

(Los Angeles, CA) – During an era marked by religious division, the collaborative relationship between Imam W. Deen Mohammed, a prominent leader in the American Muslim community, and Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement in the Catholic Church, stands as a beacon of interfaith unity and mutual respect. Their partnership not only bridged the gap between two major world religions but also set a profound example of spiritual dialogue and cooperation.

Imam W. Deen Mohammed was a pivotal figure in transforming the religious outlook of thousands of African American Muslims, guiding them towards mainstream universal Islam. His vision was inclusive, embracing the idea that religious diversity is a strength that should be celebrated and respected.

Chiara Lubich, an influential Catholic leader, founded the Focolare Movement in Italy during World War II. The movement focused on universal brotherhood and spiritual unity, reaching beyond Catholicism to engage various Christian denominations and other religions. Lubich’s charismatic leadership and the movement's emphasis on love as a central element of faith appealed to many, including Imam Mohammed.

The relationship between Imam Mohammed and Lubich began in the late 1990s when they discovered a shared commitment to dialogue as a means of solving conflicts and promoting deeper understanding across religious and cultural divides. This partnership was highlighted in several joint initiatives and public discussions that emphasized the commonalities between Islam and Christianity, such as the belief in one God and the importance of community service.

One of their notable collaborations was their involvement in the "Prayer for Peace" gatherings in Assisi, organized by the Catholic Church. These events, which called together leaders of various faiths to pray for world peace, symbolized their mutual dedication to fostering peace and reconciliation among diverse communities.

Their dialogue extended to addressing social issues prevalent in their communities, such as poverty, racial discrimination, and the need for moral leadership. Both leaders believed that faith communities should play a crucial role in advocating for justice and supporting societal welfare. Their teachings and joint appearances were instrumental in encouraging their followers to engage in service-oriented projects and to view people of different faiths as allies rather than adversaries.

The legacy of their relationship continues to inspire current and future generations of religious leaders around the world. The Imam W. Deen Mohammed and Chiara Lubich's partnership serves as a powerful reminder of the potential for religious faiths not only to coexist peacefully but also to collaborate in profound ways to better humanity.

On Sunday May 5, mosques from 25 cities across America participated in a live-streamed Zoom telecast paying tribute to the pact formed by these two leaders in 1997. The event coincided with the release of a new book called - The Pact: The Spiritual Friendship between Chiara Lubich and Imam Mohammed, written by Roberto Catalano.

Masjid Bilal Islamic Center in Los Angeles - livestream

Masjid Bilal - L.A.

Imam Abdul Karim Hasan - Masjid Bilal Islamic Center - Los Angeles

Imam Abdul Karim Hasan 

In Los Angeles, at Masjid Bilal Islamic Center, member's of the Los Angeles Focolare Movement joined the Muslim community to celebrate the occasion. Imam Abdul Karim Hasan, who traveled with Imam Mohammed to The Vatican in 1999 to greet The Pope, addressed to group, then introduced a video clip from Imam Mohammed's historic Vatican address and greeting Pope John Paul II.

As we reflect on their contributions, the story of Imam Mohammed and Lubich teaches us that at the heart of different religious expressions lies a shared pursuit of spiritual truth and human dignity. It is a call to all, regardless of religious affiliation, to build bridges of understanding and to work together towards a more just and compassionate world. 

NEW RELEASE 

"Changing A Nation: The Legacy of Imam W. Deen Mohammed"

"Changing a Nation: The Legacy of Imam W. Deen Mohammed" is an inspirational documentary that unveils the profound impact and enduring legacy of Imam W. Deen Mohammed, a trailblazing Muslim American leader.
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